Hard Drivin'

a game by Tengen

Platform: Sega GenesisGenesis

Genre: Racing

See also: Racing Games

Hard Drivin'

Have you ever had the urge to take a hot sports car to the limit? Now you can with Hard Drivin' by Tengen. This awesome driving simulator for the Genesis features a realistic three-dimensional view from the driver's seat of a high performance sports car. Arcade speedsters already know this one from the Atari coin-op of the same name, and it features the same colorful polygon graphics and wheel-spinning driving.

On Track

The radical racing takes place on a track that's actually two tracks in one, a Speed Track and a Stunt Track. If you take the Speed Track, you try to stretch the limits of your car's speed potential on 90 mph turns and long straight-aways.

ProTip: Pay attention to speed limit signs at turns. They're very accurate.

On the Stunt Track, you rocket off ramps, jump a draw bridge, and even turn a loop! Make sure that you pay attention to the speed limit signs for these stunts, or it could be disastrous.

  • Make sure your speed is slightly under 60 mph when you reach the drawbridge. Exceed 60 mph and you'll flip your car!
  • Watch out for oncoming traffic on the loop.
  • For rapid deceleration without losing control, run off the road. It slows you down much faster than your brakes.

Getting in Gear

Before you begin your wild ride, you choose your transmission, either an automatic or a manual. With the automatic you can concentrate on driving not shifting gears. If you're good enough, opt for the manual tranny. You shift gears by pressing Button ะก as the clutch and hitting Up or Down to work the gears.

Tracking the Phantom

After you've selected your transmission, you're ready to race! Take off from the starting line and when you reach the fork in the road, choose either the Stunt Track or the Speed Track. The speed track is definitely the easier of the two since you don't have tricky obstacles to worry about although the Stunt Track is much more fun.

Stay steady on the center yellow line for the entire race and simply swerve out of the way of oncoming cars. This way, you avoid cars running up hehind you, too.

If you make it to the finish line, and beat the posted time, you compete in a challenge lap against the Phantom Racer, a ghost car. If you crash a run out of off-road time (you only get 10 seconds), you lose the race! This might sound easy, but it's quite tricky since you race the Phantom on the Stunt Track.

  • The quickest path to the Championship Lap is to drive the fastest time you can on the Speed Track. There are too many ways to mess up on the Stun course.
  • Since the Phantom Racer is, well, a phantom, you can drive into or through him, so drive as it you're the only car on the road. A good strategy is to draft behind him and then blow by him just as you near the finish line.
  • For a change of pace, make a U-turn during the Practice mode and go backwards on the track. It's like an entirely new race!

For once, you can forget everything you leamed in Driver's Ed. Cut loose with this awesome Tengen title.

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Hard Drivin' Downloads

Sega Genesis Hard Drivin' download

The Atari arcade classic comes to life on the Lynx with true filled polygon scaling and fast driving action. Choose the speed track or stunt track and test your skills in one of the toughest autoracing challenges ever!

reggie posted a review
  • Manufacturer: Tengen
  • Machine: Genesis

DOQQQ Tony Hsu of Roswell, Georgia, found a way to drive the practice race with other cars on the track. Play a game normally but intentionally lose. Then go to the option screen and select Practice Mode. There should now be other cars on the track. Thanks, Tony.

reggie posted a review
  • Machine: ATARI

Though it came out in 1989, this popular race-car simulation is still doing very well at the arcades. Among its highlights are fast polygon-fill graphics, great digitized sounds, an instant replay on any accident and a hazard-packed stunt track with a loop-de-loop and dangerous ramp jump. This game was so impressive, it was reviewed in Road and Track magazine.

reggie posted a review
  • Machine: Sega, Genesis

Hard Drivin' is a stunning car-racing game. You can choose either of two courses, the Stunt Track or the Speed Track. The Stunt Track is studded with ramps, banked turns, and even a loop. The Speed Track is built for fast driving - there are more straightaways, and the turns are more gradual.

But what really sets Hard Drivin' apart from other racing games is the degree of control you have. You can actually turn your car off the track and drive over land, although you'll be returned to the track if you stay off-road for more than ten seconds. In the arcade version, this allowed you to take illegal shortcuts. But be careful when exploring - in some places there are invisible barriers that prevent you from straying too far. If you hit one, your car explodes.

With a little practice, you can venture pretty far off the beaten path in the time allowed. As you wander around, you'll notice that the bridges, road signs, and road side features are all three-dimensional. You can drive completely around a house, for instance, and view it from every angle.

When you hit a road sign (you'll probably do this a lot, just for fun), it bends forward and stays bent.

Even if you drive completely around the track and return to the sign, or turn around and drive the wrong way until you come back to the sign, it will still be bent.

All this makes Hard Drivin' seem much more substantial, as if you really are driving through a tangible, computer-generated landscape.

The ten-second time limit for off-road driving and the hidden barriers do impose some restrictions on your freedom, of course. Also, when you're playing in normal mode - competing against other drivers for the best time - you're required to pass certain checkpoints in a given time period. But Hard Drivin' has a practice mode, freeing you from timed competition. As long as you stay on the road, or at least return to it every ten seconds, you can explore at your leisure.

Another neat feature carried over from the arcade version is the instant replay. After you crash your car in an accident, you can observe the crack-up from a point of view just above the road. You may find yourself purposely smashing your car into other traffic or ramming bridge abutments just to watch the replays.

Unfortunately, Hard Drivin' doesn't have the best graphics we've seen in a racing game, and the animation isn't the smoothest, either. But no other home videogame comes as close to being a true simulator. Hard Drivin' gets off to a good start, and we can only hope for more.

reggie posted a review
  • Theme: Race
  • Players: 1
  • Difficulty: Average

The highly recognized arcade title of the same name is now in 16-bit! You'll be able to drive through all sorts of tracks loaded with plenty of options and even an instant replay! Hit the cow!

reggie posted a review

The gameplay resembles a driving game, featuring a car similar in appearance to the Ferrari Testarossa. To separate it from other driving titles of that era, stunt loops and other road hazards were added. The game generally consist of 1 or 2 laps around the stunt track. In certain modes, you race against the computer controlled car, Phantom Photon. The game essentially challenges the players in a daredevil fashion and broke away from the norm racing games like Out Run or Pole Position. It can be also seen as a predecessor and possible inspiration for Stunts, a racing game with similar visuals, controls and tracks. It also featured a realistic manual transmission mode, in which the driver would have to properly operate the car as they would in real life.

Darnell Rogers posted a review

The first of the polygon-rendered racing sims, the original coin-up took the arcades by storm. Just about every trick used in today's sophisticated 3D racers can be seen here with the notable exception of texture mapping.

Hard Drivin' is a faithful conversion of the 3D Arcade Hit from Atari Games. You are in control an hi-performance sports car.

Your objective is to race around the course as fast as possible and hit as many checkpoints as possible. If you hit a checkpoint you gain extra time to go farther. You will see traffic on the road both in your direction and coming down the opposite direction, so be careful when you pass...

The course has two sections: speed track, and stunt track. Speed track is longer, but you can usually achieve higher speeds. Stunt track requires you to perform several stunts such as jumping bridges, driving through a loop, and so on.

Crashing the car has no serious consequences and indeed shows a replay of your crash from a cinematic angle. Admire your crash head-on into the cement truck, or clipping the minivan, or flying off the bridge in the wrong angle... You lose several seconds as your car is "reset" and you get up to speed again.

The home conversions retained most of the then-advanced 3D graphics but lost the force-feedback that was in the arcade version.

reggie posted a review
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